Geoff Ogilvy 'Opens' up
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2012 The Open Championship | General | 10 Jul 2012
After more than three weeks in his hometown of Melbourne, Geoff Ogilvy heads to England later this week to begin his final preparations for next week’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Those preparations are likely to include rounds of golf this Saturday and Sunday at some of the courses in the Lancashire area such as Royal Birkdale, Formsby and Hillside from where he will head north to Blackpool to play in his 10th Open Championship.
This is the first year Ogilvy has been home during the winter for several years and despite feeling the cold he is enjoying the Australiana involved in being back in Melbourne which has included attending a couple of games involving his beloved St Kilda AFL team.
Ogilvy’s record at the Open is surprising given his penchant for links style golf and that he was bought up on the hard and fast fairways of Melbourne. In nine previous visits to the event he has made it to the weekend on only two occasions, those coming in 2005 at St Andrew when 5th and at Royal Liverpool in 2006 when he finished 16th.
So why does Ogilvy feel that his record in Britain is not at the same level as his major golf results in the US?
“It’s weird to me as I played a lot of amateur golf around links courses, played them well and thought I had them worked out. I played links courses well when I was young and then in my first couple of Opens I was perhaps a bit overawed. Then in the last couple of years I got on the wrong side of the draw and maybe got a bit unlucky. I feel I should play links courses well but I guess it is still a work in progress.”
So what was the thinking behind the lengthy break between major championships?
“The Open is probably the hardest one to do any real specific practice for unless you are right there on the coast in the UK on a links course but having said that I have done that and sometimes it has felt ok and sometimes it hasn’t.
“It can be very hit and miss in the UK. You can go there with the best of intentions and have it rain every day and your preparation is no good. I have often played well in the US after a break whether it be one or two or three weeks so this time as opposed to specific practice I am taking the break.
“I am going to be playing links courses from Saturday onwards but I am feeling a bit more decompression having had a mid-year break to get the brain in as comfortable place as possible. It is a work in progress ( getting the preparation right) and you never really know which is the best way to prepare but I think getting the brain is the most important thing.
“This is the first break of more than two weeks in two years I think so that is some of the reason for this break because I sometimes think I have played well on a particular week but wondered what more I could have got out of it and maybe it is the mental freshness I needed.
“There is a big run of golf coming up as two weeks after the Open is the WGC event then the PGA then a week off then the four FedEX Cup events so it is a big run coming up and hopefully this break will keep me fresh all the way through it and help me play well all the way through it.
“There is no reason why I can’t play well next week as I feel my game is in a pretty good spot.”
Ogilvy played the Open Championship in 2001 at Royal Lytham & St Annes when David Duval won his one and only major championship and gave his thoughts on the layout.
“I played there in 2001 but I also went there in 1996 when Tom Lehman won as Steve Allan, my travelling companion an amateur, qualified for the event and I wandered around with him for seven days.
“It is different from most other Open courses in that it is a couple of miles from the water’s and has houses around it but it is still a legitimate links course. The moral of the story at Lytham from what I can remember is to keep it out of the fairway bunkers which is easier said than done.”
So how would he rate his form at present?
“This year I have started playing well but was a little bit tired from the big effort at the end of last year when I played six of my last seven weeks and I started this year perhaps not rested enough. I played well at Augusta and the Players but just did not hole enough putts and felt that I was primed for a pretty big US Open but it did not work out.
“My results are perhaps not that good but I have felt I have actually played quite well the whole time.”
So does he feel any added pressure to win a major given he was the last Australian to win one?
“Not really although I probably might have tried too hard to win one. I have played pretty well in the majors the first two or so years after the win in 2006 and then in the last two or three years not so. I almost want to win one now more than when I did before I won one as I know how good it feels.
“I probably feel less pressure than the other players however who always get the question as to when they are going to get it done which is a hard question for them and I am thankful I don’t have to answer that one.
The only pressure I feel is self inflicted."
So away from the Open Championship what does Ogilvy feel about the concept of the PGA Tour combining its qualifying next year with that of the Web.Com Tour and doing away with the concept of a Final Qualifying School.
“Well it is funny as it was kind of decided by the players but I am not aware of too many players who wanted to get rid of the Q School. The Q School is such a neat tournament and unique only to golf. It is a public job interview if you like and it is great entertainment so I think it is a shame.
“As to its impact on Australian golf well I am not in love with the idea of the Tour going all year round like FedEX Cup point wise. Combined with the events in Asia and a new one proposed in South Africa it will start to go really deep into the year so it will make it more difficult for our tour here.
“It will generate more money for the PGA Tour so from a PGA Tour players perspective it is probably a good thing but for our tour here then only time will tell.”
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